Dr. Christopher Rogers was honored to speak at the April 2021 La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary Club meeting. Topics of the lecture included a history of stem cell therapy in San Diego and an update on FDA-approved clinical trials for knee osteoarthritis. To see a copy of the lecture, visit the San Diego Orthobiologics Medical Group YouTube channel or view the video linked below!
Dr. Christopher J. Rogers, co-founder of DataBiologics, LLC., is proud to announce a milestone in the collection of Regenerative Medicine data. DataBiologics, a patient-reported outcomes registry has collected more than 10,000 results from patients who received cell-based treatment. These included platelet-rich plasma (PRP), bone marrow concentration, and adipose-derived regenerative cells for the treatment of arthritis, tendon tears, and many other orthopedic conditions. To learn more about the DataBiologics registry and the results of these innovative treatments, click below to continue:
Muscle strain and muscle tears are not limited to sports injuries, they can also occur on the job or at home. One wrong move, a fall, or any injury can lead to significant muscle damage in the back, legs, or arms.
A strain or pulled muscle occurs when the fibers in the muscles are overstretched. When those fibers become stretched so thin that they break, it becomes a muscle tear.
Depending on the severity of the injury, it may take anywhere from a few days to several weeks to fully heal from these injuries. Muscle regeneration usually starts during the first four to five days after injury, peaks at two weeks, and then gradually diminishes three to four weeks after the injury . In severe cases, it may take surgery to repair a muscle tear.
Can cellular treatments help patients heal more quickly and naturally from these injuries?
How Do Cellular Treatments Promote Healing Muscle Tissue?
Cellular treatments for musculoskeletal injuries operate on the principle that the body has the ability to heal itself. Regenerative medicine specialists use certain cells in our body that are involved in healing to stimulate the repair of damaged tissues and augment the body’s healing response.
These innovative cell therapies have been successfully used to treat orthopedic conditions.
- Platelet Rich Plasma: Platelets in blood release growth factors and proteins that promote tissue repair, while the plasma carries the hormones, electrolytes, and nutrients required to nourish cells during the healing process. Platelet-rich plasma treatments can be customized to create specific formulations for each type of tissue being treated (muscle, tendon, ligament, cartilage).
- Stem Cell Treatments: Cells derived from the patient’s own bone marrow or adipose (fat) tissue produce molecules that stimulate the production of new blood vessels, awaken other stem cells and encourage newly forming cells to produce collagen and other proteins essential for creating new healthy new tissue.
The use of cell therapies for muscle injuries have been studied in many clinical trials. There is evidence that it can induce muscle cell proliferation, assist with tissue healing and shorten the time for athletes to return to sports after an injury . Nevertheless, more studies are needed to evaluate the use of PRP for muscle injuries. There are many exciting new potential therapeutic applications of cellular therapies like stem cell treatments in repairing muscle injuries without the need for surgery  . Advances in tissue engineering and biotechnology will pave the way for this to become a reality in the near future.
Drs. Christopher Rogers and Mary A. Ambach of San Diego Orthobiologics Medical Group are nationally recognized experts in the field of regenerative medicine. For more than 20 years, they have been helping patients with joint and spine injuries overcome their pain through the latest advances in cell-based treatments.
In the last few years, there have been great advances in the field of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Therapy. These treatments hold a great deal of promise for the treatment of a variety of orthopedic conditions. Most treatments are offered at your convenience in a medical clinic setting without the need for surgery.
What is Regenerative Medicine?
Regenerative medicine is a multi-disciplinary field that aims to restore damaged or diseased tissues by utilizing the body’s own natural healing process. By bringing together many different disciplines such as cellular biology, genetics, and tissue engineering, Regenerative Medicine has revolutionized the way physicians can treat orthopedic conditions. Stimulating our body’s natural ability to heal and promote tissue regeneration has replaced many traditional treatment options such as steroid injections or surgery.
Stem Cell Therapy
According to the International Society for Stem Cell Research’s (ISSCR) president, Douglas Melton, “Stem cell science is rapidly transforming how we think about the future of medicine. The field is actively working to address how we facilitate getting potential therapies from the lab to the clinic.”
Stem cells have the ability to develop into many different types of cells in the body, which is why stem cell therapy is important in the field of regenerative medicine. There is constant advancement of research in the use of stem cell for replacement of damaged tissue or transplants, drug testing and development and regenerative medicine.
How are Stem Cell Therapy and Regenerative Medicine Related?
There is a direct connection to stem cell therapy and the practice of Regenerative Medicine which harnesses the body’s ability to heal itself and regrow tissues. The different types of stem cells, namely embryonic, adult, and induced pluripotent stem cells, are used in the field of developmental biology to study how cells behave. Stem cells are also used to test new to drugs for the treatment of various diseases and medical conditions. In the field of orthopedics, adult stem cells play a crucial role in the cell-based therapies used to treat orthopedic injuries such as knee osteoarthritis.
What Orthopedic Conditions Can Be Treated with Cell-Based Therapies?
- Knee pain due to osteoarthritis or meniscus tears
- Shoulder pain due to rotator cuff tendon tears or tendinitis
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Golfer’s Elbow and Tennis Elbow
- Chronic ankle ligament sprains
- Low back pain due to disc degeneration or sacroiliac joint ligament injury
Regenerative medicine has entered the world of clinical practice thanks to quickly evolving technology and advancements in the understanding of how stem cells work in the body. As research continues, the field of Regenerative Medicine and stem cell therapy will continue to grow, providing doctors and their patients the ability to treat many conditions that were previously untreatable.
Regenerative treatments use the body’s own unique healing properties to alleviate painful orthopedic conditions and address the underlying cause of the pain.
Regenerative medicine has the potential to repair or replace tissues damaged by age, disease or trauma. It can be used to treat a number of orthopedic conditions including the following:
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Disc Degeneration and Tears
- Golfer’s Elbow and Tennis Elbow
- Herniated Discs
- Osteoarthritis of the knees, hips, back, shoulders and neck
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Tendon Tears and Tendinitis
How Do Regenerative Treatments Work?
The body is a finely tuned machine. Like any piece of machinery, it will send a signal when something is not working correctly. When a gasket fails on an engine and leaks oil, this leak is a signal that there is a problem. In the same way, when a body part fails, the body sends a signal to indicate there is a problem. Typically, it does this through the sensation of pain.
Regenerative treatments use the patient’s own cells in the form of platelet rich plasma or healing cells derived from fat tissue or bone marrow, to heal the underlying cause of the pain. These cellular products are referred to as Orthobiologics.
How Do Orthobiologics Work?
- Platelet Rich Plasma: Platelets in the patient’s own blood release growth factors and proteins that promote tissue repair, while the plasma carries the hormones, electrolytes and nutrients required to nourish cells during the healing process.
- Cell Based Therapies: Healing cells taken from the patient’s own fat tissue (adipose) or bone marrow contain adult stem cells that have the unique ability to develop into the specific kind of cell needed by the body. They possess molecules that direct other cells in the injured area to form new blood vessels, awaken more stem cells and encourage production of proteins and other materials essential for creating new healthy tissues.
- Prolotherapy (Proliferative Therapy): Natural medications that help the body jump-start its own natural healing response are injected into the injured area.
Minimally Invasive Pain Relief for Orthopedic Conditions
Orthobiologic regenerative treatments are performed on an out-patient basis and do not require hospitalization or lengthy rehabilitation. The healing cells are obtained from the patient through a needle or small cannula and are returned to the injured site on the same day.
Experienced, reputable practitioners of regenerative medicine follow the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines for the performance of these procedures and follow strict protocols to ensure safety and efficacy. Patients considering regenerative treatments should seek the expertise of board certified-physicians who are specialized in diagnosing and treating orthopedic conditions. They have the regenerative medicine skills and experience necessary to promote safety, comfort and a successful outcome.
Drs. Christopher J. Rogers and Mary A. Ambach of San Diego Orthobiologics Medical Group together have successfully treated thousands of patients with cell-based therapies for more than three decades. They are board-certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. As published authors and stem cell researchers, they were chosen to participate in a first of its kind, FDA-approved clinical trial to treat knee osteoarthritis. The SDOMG facility in Carlsbad contains the most advanced Regenerative Medicine technology in San Diego and offers same day treatments with the highest level of safety, efficacy and patient satisfaction.
The human spine is composed of 24 individual bones called the vertebrae. In between these bones are the intervertebral discs, which are gel filled structures that act as shock absorbers. They consist of a tough outer layer called the annulus fibrosus that protects the disc’s gel-like interior, the nucleus pulposus. In the lower back, the discs are a little more than a third of an inch (10 millimeters) thick and about 1.5 inches (four centimeters) in diameter.[i]
A bulging disc or herniated disc occurs when the outer layer of the disc weakens and tears. This can cause the inner gel to bulge out to the spinal canal and affect the nearby nerves causing back pain, leg pain or muscle spasm. The disc tear can also cause leakage of materials into the spinal canal that can cause inflammation and pain.
Herniated discs most often occur in the lower back but can occur anywhere in the spine, including the neck and the midback. The location of the herniated disc often determines where the patient will feel symptoms of pain, tingling, numbness or weakness. Bulging discs in the lumbar spine can result in pain in the low back, buttocks, thighs, legs and feet. On the other hand, if your herniated disc is in the cervical spine, pain can be felt in the neck, shoulders, arms and hands.
What Causes a Herniated Disc?
Disc herniation can occur due to injury or age-related wear and tear. As people age, the disc nucleus pulposus loses hydration, wears down and leads to degeneration. Other factors may increase the risk of developing a herniated disc. These include:
- Repetitive lifting, pulling, pushing, bending and twisting
- Increased height (tall people)
- Smoking (decreases blood supply to the disk leading to degeneration)
A thorough medical history and physical examination can lead to the diagnoses of disc herniation. An MRI of the spine is an imaging modality that reveals herniated discs and other structural abnormalities of the spine.
The treatment for most cases of mild to moderate herniated discs involves conservative measures which include the following:
- Activity modification: Avoid repetitive twisting, bending or lifting. Do not sit or stand for extended periods of time.
- Physical therapy to strengthen your trunk, arm and leg muscles that support the spine.
- Medications: Anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen, muscle relaxers, or pain killers
- Ice packs or heating pads
- Alternative therapies such as acupuncture, massage or gentle chiropractic manual therapies to manage pain.
When conservative measures fail to provide symptomatic relief, a board-certified spine specialist can offer injection treatments that do not require hospitalization and provide a more rapid recovery than surgery.
Epidural corticosteroid injection is a treatment that delivers steroid, a powerful anti-inflammatory medication, directly to the source of pain. This is performed using fluoroscopic (x-ray) guidance. This treatment can provide immediate relief of pain. The number of treatments is limited as repetitive steroid use could result to tissue damage, hormonal irregularities, osteoporosis and decreased immune response.
Cell-based therapies can treat disc degeneration and tears that are traditionally managed with medications or surgery. These treatments have been shown to increase disc hydration and disc cell proliferation, decrease inflammation, increase disc support tissue and assist in tissue healing. These therapies involve obtaining the patient’s own healthy cells and delivering them to the injured disc where they can jump start the body’s own regenerative healing processes.
- Platelet Rich Plasma uses platelets in the blood that release growth factors and proteins to promote tissue repair, while the plasma carries the hormones, electrolytes and nutrients required to nourish cells during the healing process.
- Cell Based Therapies use cells derived from the patient’s own bone marrow. Bone marrow contain adult stem cells that have the unique ability to develop into the specific kind of cells, including anulus and nucleus pulposus cells. They also contain many other healing cells and molecules that direct other cells in the area to form new blood vessels, awaken stem cells and produce collagen or other proteins essential for creating healthy new tissue.
Patients considering regenerative treatments such as these cell therapies need to know that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not currently allow the use of stem cells derived from birth tissue products such as amniotic fluid or umbilical cord blood to treat orthopedic conditions. These donor products do not contain live stem cells and have not been tested for safety or efficacy.
Candidates for Cell-Based Therapies for Herniated Discs
The success of cell-based treatments for herniated discs is dependent upon the severity of your condition and your overall health. Cell-based treatments are not suitable for those who have active cancer, infection, history of blood disease, or are pregnant.
Cell-based therapies are giving new hope for long-lasting pain relief to many patients with injured discs. It is important that you take an active role in your healing and recovery with good nutrition and a commitment to overall fitness to achieve the best outcome.
Drs. Christopher J. Rogers and Mary A. Ambach of San Diego Orthobiologics Medical Group together have successfully treated thousands of patients with interventional spine procedures and cell-based treatments for more than three decades. They are published authors and cell therapy researchers. Their facility in Carlsbad contains the most advanced Regenerative Medicine technology in San Diego and offers same- day treatments with the highest level of safety and efficacy.